KARACHI: Badminton players selected for the 2014 Asian Games are low-ranked athletes as the country’s top eight players were not invited to the trials, says Pakistan Badminton Federation (PBF) Secretary Imtiaz Gill.
“Ali Murad, who has been Pakistan’s top player for the last four years and recently won the Wapda All-Pakistan Badminton Tournament title, in which all the top players of the country took part, was not even called for the trials,” Imtiaz told The Express Tribune.
According to Gill, the poor state of selection would make the country’s sport suffer at the Games as players ranked nine and below were invited to be assessed.
“Wajid Ali, who was a coach and not even playing badminton recently, was called in for the trials along with Hashir Bashir, Pakistan number nine Hafiz Irfan Syed (SNGPL) and number 17 Umer Zeeshan [Wapda]. Syed and Zeeshan were selected at the end.
“This is indeed a grave injustice and will discourage deserving players, who play their hearts out to remain at the top.”
However, the official was in favour of the selection of the female squad, which includes Pakistan’s top women’s player Palwalsha Bashir (NBP) and Mahnoor Shehzad (Sindh).
To justify the selection process, national coach Tayyab Sohail, who supervised the trials, said that Murad had lost his pre-quarter-final against Azeem Sarwar of Punjab in the national ranking championship in September, which is why his name had not been included.
Meanwhile, a dejected Murad has given an open challenge to the selected players, stating, “If they beat me then they are the right choice for the Games, but if they lose, they will be responsible for my absence at two back-to-back international events [Commonwealth and Asian Games].”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2014.
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